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Ordinary People Taking Action
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Teamwork is about taking fault as a team.
Exciting news today. My son’s soccer team played in the championship game for the President’s State Cup. This isn’t the first time they’ve gotten this far. They won this tournament last year as well, going on to represent Washington State in the Regional President’s Cup tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was a very big deal last year; it was an even bigger deal this year. The possibility of becoming second-year champions was within reach.
These boys poured their hearts out this weekend. They held nothing back on Saturday as they advanced and again yesterday in the final game. They all knew their role – they passed, they ran, they supported each other. They played as a team.
The game yesterday was 0-0 at halftime. The boys continued to play hard in the second half. The end of game score was tied, still at 0-0. First five minutes of overtime, still 0-0. Second five minutes overtime, 0-0. They went into the PKs. Our boys kicked first, score. The other team, score. Three more scores for each team, 4-4. Our team was up, missed shot. Their team, made it. And, just like that, the game was over, 4-5. The other team won. Heartbreak for our boys.
What I saw next was nothing short of inspiring. Every single player on our team said “good job” to the teammate who’d missed the shot. It’s easy to imagine how frustrated and disappointed they felt at that moment. How tempting it is to place blame. And yet, a group of 14-year-old boys understood what their teammate must be feeling and immediately offered support. The team took fault for the missed shot.
“It’s not your fault – we all made mistakes today.”
“You only had to take that shot because we made other mistakes during the game and didn’t score.”
It was a proud moment as a parent, and it made me realize that we – adults – don’t always support our teams like this. We often don’t say “good job”. We are quick to point fingers and blame someone for messing up – or missing a PK shot – rather than acknowledging that we were all in a difficult situation together. That as a team, we all impact the outcome. The boys today realized that they all played a part in their teammate’s missed PK shot and they took accountability for it.
In an unexpected turn of events, our boys received the wildcard spot, so they will be moving on to the Regional President’s Cup this year. They will be going to Salt Lake City to compete and to represent Washington State.
To the team, may you keep your sportsmanship strong and your support of each other even stronger. May you all realize at the age of 14, you are better team players than many others decades older than you. Good luck in Salt Lake City – we are all cheering for you!
To my readers, may you consider that it’s how you treat your teammates in difficult times that determines whether you’re truly a team player. Every team has successes and failures and if we can accept them with the grace shown by these soccer players, we will all come away stronger – come away better.